Why Are Longleaf Pines Important?

Longleaf forest provide important habitat for a wide range of animals and birds. 

Longleaf pines have been referred to as the “tree that built the South,” and with good reason.

This native of the southeastern U.S. was heavily harvested for decades to build homes, ships, and railroads. It was also used to extract resin to refine turpentine; more recently, it is being used for sawtimber and utility poles, and its needles are sought-after for landscaping mulch.

This economically important tree also stabilizes and enriches the soil, and it stores carbon over long periods of time.  If burned regularly so that their natural rhythms are restored, longleaf pine forests become rich, stable ecosystems that can support a vast diversity of plants and wildlife. In fact, studies have shown that mature longleaf ecosystems support up to 40 species per square yard, and are home to upwards of 30 threatened and endangered species.

Because longleaf pine forests are so important, many foresters and landowners have dedicated themselves to restoring them. Since 2011, the Longleaf Partnership Council—a partnership of 33 non-governmental organizations, state and federal agencies, private industry, universities and extension services, and private landowners—has worked to restore and conserve longleaf pine ecosystems across the South.


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